Exposing Nestle’s Marketing Tactics

How one quick quiz inspired 32,000 activists

The challenge:

How we encourage petition signers (and your email list) to take additional – often higher bar – actions is a challenge facing many organisations. Here we show how we worked with Changing Markets to do just that.

When Changing Markets got in touch with Forward Action, they had a petition with 90,000 signatures telling Nestlé to stop its manipulative baby milk marketing tactics. Now, they wanted to ramp up the pressure even further by asking people who had signed the petition to write a message on Nestlé’s Facebook wall.

They asked us to come up with a compelling and shareable way to re-engage people with the campaign and inspire them to take this very public action calling on Nestlé to change its ways.

What we did:

Key to the whole project was making sure we had a strong connection between the tactic we developed and the overall campaign message.

People who had signed the petition already knew about Nestlé’s unethical marketing tactics. So, to encourage them to take a further action, we needed to create a renewed sense of outrage and communicate the power of publicly challenging the corporation.

Changing Markets, along with a group of independent researchers, had recently published a report that exposed a worrying finding: many of Nestle’s infant milk products are advertised as being based on science when in fact they are heavily influenced by market research. This inspired the engagement tool we developed: a fake science quiz.

Based around seven ‘true or false’ food-related questions, the quiz invited people to see if they could separate fact from fiction and bust a series of diet-related myths.

The fact that food is universally relevant made it a strong topic, and we framed the quiz in a way that challenged users to prove that they were one of the savvy few who couldn’t be fooled by bogus facts.

Once people had completed the questions – but before they got their results – we revealed that Nestlé trades on fake food science and uses unproven scientific claims to market its products. This led into an ask for users to write on Nestlé’s Facebook wall.

Our biggest challenge was getting people to leave a message on Nestlé’s Facebook wall, since choosing this option took them away from the page where they would see their results, and opened Facebook in a seperate tab. To counter this, we made it as easy as possible for users write a message by giving them a few pointers on what to say.

We also wanted to use the quiz to generate new support for the campaign, so we built a second version of that gave a little more information about the issue and invited users to sign the petition first – an easier action – and then to write on Nestlé Facebook wall afterwards. We promoted this version via Facebook ads

The results:

In the version of the quiz that targeted previous supporters, 41% of those who took the quiz re-engaged with Changing Markets’ campaign by leaving a message on Nestle’s Facebook wall. And although growth wasn’t a primary aim, the second version of the quiz also engaged thousands of new people.

Overall, just over 63% of people took an action – either by signing the petition or writing a message on Nestlé’s Facebook wall. Many were so inspired that they created their own personal messages to Nestlé instead of simply pasting the template messages we gave them – a big success.